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Thelma Lou Avant Dowies, born on May 11, 1931, passed away on December 31, 2016 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Dr. Dowies is survived by her husband of 65 years, James Edward Dowies, Sr.; son James Edward Dowies, Jr and his wife Mimi Dowies of Manassas, Virginia; daughter Pamela Dowies Owens and her husband Randall C. Owens of Houston; grandson David J. Dowies with Mandy Lo of Fairfax, Virginia; grandsons Samuel C. Owens of San Antonio; Joseph R. Owens of Houston; James E. Dowies, III of Manassas, Virginia; granddaughter Rachel M. Owens of Houston; and, great granddaughter Sienna Lo Dowies of Fairfax, Virginia. Thelma Lou joins her daughter Cynthia Lou Dowies, grandson Daniel A. Dowies, father Benjamin Avant and mother Georgia W. Hooks Avant in heaven.

Thelma Lou was born and raised in Beaumont, Texas and knew Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. While growing up in Beaumont, she enjoyed church, ballet and tap dancing and sang in many vocal groups for civic clubs, etc. Thelma was a member of the Melody Maids and was a cheerleader at Beaumont High School and Lamar Jr. College. She transferred to the University of Texas and while attending a business law class she met Jim who played basketball at the University.

She went on to earn her Master's Degree at Lamar University and a Doctor of Philosophy at Texas A&M University. She spent many years as an elementary school teacher, principal and then an administrator in the West Orange Cove Independent School District. After moving to Houston, she came out of retirement to be the Principal at Clay Road Baptist School, and then taught at Second Baptist School before her final retirement. She taught many Sunday school classes and sang in church choirs all of her adult years.

In her free time, she kept up with her grandchildren, attending every sporting or school event possible. She and Jim planned trips and vacations with their grandchildren every year to the beach, the mountains, Disney, Six Flags and other fun locations. Thelma was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother. She was the biggest fan of her kids and grandkids, and they enjoyed her endless love and devotion.

Thelma always found something to keep her busy. From working on John Connally's gubernatorial campaign in the 60's to helping Cambodian and Vietnamese refugees assimilate into the USA in the 70's. She organized a team to teach English to refugees, and then also assisted two young refugee men through college and into the ministry. She wrote book proposals with the intent to publish and even participated in a documentary filmed in Hollywood about the U.S. Postal Service. While a principal and administrator, she was a speaker at the National Conference for Teachers in St. Louis, Missouri, Charleston, South Carolina and Honolulu, Hawaii. She served on the grievance committee of the State Bar of Texas and volunteered for Child Advocates. She never stopped learning and contributing.

Thelma made a difference in each person's life she touched; each family member, her teachers, her students, and all who were lucky enough to have known her as their friend.

Family and friends celebrated this wonderful woman's life during a memorial service at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, January 13, 2017 in the Hankamer Chapel at Second Baptist Church, 6400 Woodway in Houston, where a reception followed in the Deacon's Parlor.